There are atleast a dozen forests around Bangalore.
It is around 60kms from the city.As you reach Yelahanka on Bellary Raod, take a deviation to left from the Yelahanka city towards Doddaballapur which is 35kms away. Once you reach Doddaballapur the locals will guide you towards Makali Durga which is 15kms.
Fort in the Forest
The picturesque Makali Durga near Doddaballapur offers a whole range of thrills from bird watching to adventure activities like rappelling. A ride down the lake at the foothills could be possible depending on the availability of coracles among the local fishermen.
Adjacent to the well known religious center Ghati Subramanya, Makali Durga (fort) stands atop a huge granite hillock, which can be scaled in one to two hours. Once you reach the summit, 1,350mts above sea level, you come to the ruins of the fort that has history written all over it. You could just gaze at it or breathe in the fresh air infused with the invigorating flavour of lemon grass.
Situated at a distance of 70kms from Bangalore, it is around 17-20 kms from Doddaballpur.Here again, off the Yelahanka town take a deviation towards right and reach Doddaballapur.Further, take a right turn and travel for about 10kms, you are at the entrance of the Devara Betta region.
DODDARAGI HALLI BETTA & CHICKKARAGI HALLI BETTA
Thought the hillocks are 30kms from the city, you have to get down well in advance at a distance of 22kms near the office of National Park at Kalkere Koli (Poultry) Farm. Once you take permission and are accompanied by forest department staff, you can further head towards the park.
30kms from Bangalore. There are two roads that lead to this place.Once you reach Bannerghatta, just before the national park you can take a diversion towards right and proceed towards Chanpakadhama Swamy temple and from there you can start your trek or at Kalkere – on the way to Bannerghatta take a right turn on the mudroad which takes you towards weavers colony and from there take a left turn ending at Suvarnamukhi.
40 kms from the city. The road leading to the falls is not good. Interpersed with farming fields, difficult terrain off Suvarnamukhi and winding roads for more than 12 kms. After passing through Weavers colony close to Kalkere proceed further and take a right turn with the help of locals (While the left takes you to Suvarnamukhi).
Off the Bangalore-Hyderabad (NH-7) highway, Nandi hill is located at a distance of 60 km north of Bangalore. Soon after crossing Devanahalli junction, five kms from the airport take a left turn and proceed further to reach Nandi.
The mountains are just 65kms away from the city. Off the Bellary highway (NH-7) near Devanahalli junction after airport take a left turn leading to Chickkaballapur town. At the town’s market circle take a left turn and proceed straight with a few turns in between till the base of the hills.
50 kms from the city, the Pearl Valley is just 30kms from Electronic city. Reach Chandapura on Hosur Road and take a right turn off Hosur road towards Anekal which is 30 kms away. On reaching Anekal, take a right turn.
At a distance of 60kms from the city, the rocky terrain is close to Magadi taluk. Get on to the Magadi Road from Majestic and drive till Hospet which is just a kilometer before Magadi. At Hospet, take a left turn leading to Ramanagaram. Once you travel 15 kms on the Ramanagaram raod , take left turn and reach Savanadurga.
A visit to a mojority of these places would need special permission from the State Forest Department,but it is worth the trouble.
Not just Snakes
Not very far from Makali Durga, Devara Betta region is known for its thick green forest cover and shrubs and is home to a variety of animals and birds.This area is also home to the Subramanya temple known for Nagaradhane (snake worship). According to forest department officials, the area has different varieties of reptiles besides sloth bears, jackals and mongoose.
Laze by the Stream
Yet anothe spot in the heart of Bannerghatta National Park is Suvarna Mukhi. The park stretches out to a huge rock at this point and the Suvarnamukhi stream meandering through the verdant green pastures beckons you to take a plunge. Apart from the few humans, elephants flock to the area in large numbers.
Walking with Elephants and Leopards
Even though the trekking routes inside the Bannerghatta National Park– Doddaragi Halli Betta and Chickkaragi Halli Betta were thrown open to the public last year, not many know about it. While the Doddaragi Halli Betta covers a distance of 15 kms, the Chikkaragi trek route measures around 9 kms.
As the area is under the jurisdiction of the national park, special permission from the forest department is required to undertake any adventure activities.
The dense forests are home to elephants, leopards and bears besides around 100 species of birds. A small check dam on the route and watch towers at regular intervals will lead you to all the 10 reserve forest areas of the Anekal Forest range.
Under a Waterfall
The surroundings of Bangalore are not just known for the green cover but also the water bodies that provide the welcome cool break. Geographically falling under the Deccan plateau region, the smallhillocks have led to the formation of waterfalls at a few places. The Thottikal falls off the Suvarnamukhi valley attracts you in all its majesty, which canbe believe it or not, “manually operated!”.
This just means that the channel atop the hill through which the water falls can easily be blocked and water can be stored for a few minutes. The forest around the stream is the most sought after by trekkers interested in spotting water birds.
Up the Hill
Besides ite beautiful gardens, nurseries and breathtaking views from the infamous ‘Tipu Drop’, Nandi Hills has enough to offer nature enthusiasts. The slopes of the hills are either covered with thorny shrubs or boulders that give you a mixed bag while rock – climbing or trekking. The originating pointsof 3 rivers are in different directions of the hill and the forest around these water bodies offers you an evergreen ambience.
At around 60kms from the city, off Bellary Road and between Chikkaballapur and Nandi hills, Skandagiri or Kandavarahalli Betta is popular among techie backpakers especially after the famous photo mail that dropped into many an inbox.
Located at an altitude of 1,750mt, Skandagiri is every adventurer’s paradise and an ideal place for night trekking, high altitude camping and of course, watching the sun rise.
Go with the Flow
Muthyala Madu or the Pearl Valley could be an easy option for those staying close to the Electronic City. Less than 50kms away from the city and close to Anekal, the beautiful waterfalls area along the fringes of the Bannerghatta National Park is often called as Pearl Valley.
Even though it is steep at few places, the steps leading to the bottom of the valley makes it easier for any to get down to the abyss. Trek along the flowing water and it will connect you with the Cauvery Basin, yet another hub of wildlife.
Take a Dip
Though it is known among the rockclimbers, the surroinding areas of Savanadurga have been attracting good numbers of trekkers. Adding to the beauty, backwaters of Manchanabele dam keeps the surrounding area cool enough to trek at anytime of the day even in summer. If you are tired after a trek, you can plunge into the backwaters and get refreshed.